Ranking the common causes of death among different age groups can be a useful tool in finding out the options to reduce cause-specific morbidity and mortality rates. It should be kept in mind that rankings, however, do not illustrate the mortality risk. The ranking of a specific cause as a reason for frequent deaths may change over time, even if the mortality rates have not changed. Similarly, ranking of a specific cause may remain the same, even though the mortality rate declines; therefore, it is not intelligible to conclude the mortality risk from the rankings of mortality rates.
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Image: “Ambulance in New York City.” License: CC BY-SA 2.5


Overview

The demise of an individual is a disaster. Higher death rates from specific causes can also provide an insight into the larger issues in communities such as violence, lack of health care facilities, environmental issues and ignorance.

Preventable causes, such as car accidents, can be taken out to improve the larger system issues, and mortality rates can then be channeled towards a declining phase. Many fatal incidents can be prevented through social, behavioral and environmental changes and legislative amendments.

Causes of death vary according to different age groups and ethnicity, with black African American children having higher mortality rates as compared to people of other ethnic groups. Differences are also found among the Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black groups. Given below are the leading causes of death in the U.S according to different age groups.

Leading Causes of Neonatal Death

  1. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  2. Short gestation and low birth weight issues
  3. Newborns affected by maternal complications of pregnancy
  4. Sudden infant death syndrome
  5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  6. Complications of placenta, cord and membranes in newborns
  7. Bacterial sepsis of newborns
  8. Respiratory distress of newborns
  9. Cardiovascular diseases
  10. Neonatal hemorrhage

Postneonatal Death Causes

symptoms of influenza

Image: “Main Symptoms of Influenza.” by Mikael Häggström. License: Public Domain

  1. Sudden infant death syndrome
  2. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  3. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  4. Cardiovascular diseases
  5. Assault (homicide)
  6. Diarrhea and gastroenteritis of infectious origin
  7. Influenza and pneumonia
  8. Septicemia
  9. Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight
  10. Chronic respiratory disease originating in the perinatal period

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 1 – 4 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  3. Assault (homicide)
  4. Malignant neoplasms
  5. Diseases of heart
  6. Influenza and pneumonia
  7. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  8. Septicemia
  9. In situ neoplasms, benign neoplasms and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behavior
  10. Certain conditions originating in the perinatal

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 5 – 9 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Malignant neoplasms
  3. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  4. Assault (homicide)
  5. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  6. Diseases of the heart
  7. Influenza and pneumonia
  8. Cerebrovascular diseases
  9. Septicemia
  10. In situ neoplasms, benign neoplasms and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behavior

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 10 – 14 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Malignant neoplasms
  3. Suicide
  4. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  5. Assault (homicide)
  6. Diseases of heart
  7. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  8. Influenza and pneumonia
  9. Cerebrovascular diseases
  10. In situ neoplasms, benign neoplasms and neoplasms of uncertain or unknown behavior

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 15 – 19 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Suicide
  3. Assault
  4. Malignant neoplasms
  5. Diseases of the heart
  6. Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities
  7. Influenza and pneumonia
  8. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  9. Cerebrovascular diseases
  10. Diabetes mellitus

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 20 – 24 Years

Symptoms-of-pneumonia.svg

Image: “Main Symptoms of Infectious Pneumonia.” by Mikael Häggström. License: Public Domain

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Suicide
  3. Assault
  4. Malignant neoplasms
  5. Diseases of the heart
  6. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Pregnancy and childbirth
  9. Influenza and pneumonia
  10. HIV

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 25 – 34 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Suicide
  3. Assault
  4. Malignant neoplasms
  5. Diseases of the heart
  6. Diabetes mellitus
  7. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  8. HIV
  9. Cerebrovascular disease
  10. Influenza and pneumonia

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 35 – 44 Years

  1. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  2. Malignant neoplasms
  3. Heart diseases
  4. Suicide
  5. Assault
  6. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. HIV
  9. Cerebrovascular disease
  10. Influenza and pneumonia

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 45 – 54 Years

  1. Malignant neoplasms
  2. Heart diseases
  3. Accidents
  4. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  5. Suicide
  6. Diabetes mellitus
  7. Cerebrovascular disease
  8. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  9. Septicemia
  10. HIV

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 55 – 64 Years

Main_symptoms_of_diabetes

Image: “Overview of the most significant possible symptoms of diabetes.” by Mikael Häggström. License: Public domain

  1. Malignant neoplasms
  2. Heart diseases
  3. Accidents
  4. Diabetes mellitus
  5. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  6. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  7. Cerebrovascular disease
  8. Suicide
  9. Septicemia
  10. Nephritis

Leading Causes of Death: Ages 65 – 74 Years

  1. Malignant neoplasms
  2. Heart diseases
  3. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  4. Cerebrovascular disease
  5. Diabetes mellitus
  6. Accidents
  7. Nephritis and nephrotic syndrome
  8. Septicemia
  9. Influenza and pneumonia
  10. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis

It can be seen that for the age range of 5 – 14, children are more likely to lose their life as a result of malignant neoplasms and, from 45 to 74 years, malignant neoplasms are the leading cause of death, whereas in the younger age groups, unintentional injuries and intentional self-harm are the primary cause.

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